Child Abuse and Neglect

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Maltreatment of children is not a new phenomenon. It dates back far

into history, even back to biblical times. During recent years child maltreatment has had an increase in the public's eye. There are many factors to child maltreatment. There are four general categories of child maltreatment now recognized. They are physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and emotional maltreatment. Each category, in turn, covers a range of behavior. The maltreatment of children not only affects the

children themselves, but also affects the family by making it dysfunctional.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse may be best defined as any non-accidental physical injury

by a person who has care, custody, or control of a child. The definition

contains two key aspects, the act is intentional or willful, and/or the act

resulted in physical injury. Accidental does not qualify as child abuse.


Physical abused children do not fit any type of stereotype. Abuse

occurs in all neighborhoods. Also, abusers come in all shapes, sizes, colors,

and sexes. There are many signs of physical abuse.

First the location and types of injuries, many time the parent or care

takers will deny any wrong doing or the child has suffered any physical injury.

There are always those injuries that consist of a normal childhood upbringing,

such as falling of their bike or bumping their head. Then, there are those

which they cannot be explained. When caretakers deny any injuries or have no

knowledge of an injury, there is a very strong likely hood that physical abuse

exists. Here are some of the signs of physical abuse.

Bruises happen for various of accidental reasons. There are also

bruises that are tell tale signs of abuse. Bruises have a time clock that can

tell when it happened. Also, the location of the bruise can tell a story.

Bruises on the front part of the body are often signs of normal bruises from

just falling ECT. Bruises found on the back of the arm, leg, lower back, the

butt and genital are suspicious bruises and often questioned bruises. Patterned

bruising is also a sign of abuse. Normal bruises are in various shapes and

sizes. While some bruises that are a patterned show strong signs of abuse.

These are bruises that have definite boundaries and sharp and curved edges. For

example rope, rulers, hand prints and so on. (wallace,38)


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...e long run, parents that were neglected

during their childhood often neglected their children. Also, the children that

have psychological damage from maltreatment are more likely to indulge in

suicide and self mutilation. Nonphysically abused children are more likely to

have depression and hopelessness.

Children with inappropriate sexual behavior, such as frequent and overt

self stimulation are a direct constituency of sexual abuse. Non-sexually abused

children later on in life also sometimes show sexual overtones. Sexually abused

children may show high levels of dissociation, a process in a product a

disturbance in normal integrative functions of memory and identity. Many abused

children are able to self hypnotize themselves or space out.

It has been found that abuse as a child has affected their stages of

life. Studies have found that abused children have lower intellectual

functioning and reduced cognitive functioning. Others have found language

skills and verbal ability to be affected by abuse. Also, studies have suggested

that today's abused and neglected children are tomorrow's problem adult. We must all work to put and end to child abuse in America.

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